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Study shows Australians prioritise protection over convenience

By Ryan Morris-Reade
Wed 16 Feb 2022

A recent study by McAfee has identified the shifts in needs, attitudes, and actions that will impact Australia in 2022. The results show that people are becoming increasingly concerned about their security - to the point of preferring to give up on some conveniences of digital life.

The top 7 trends of 2022 explained:

1. While life online is loaded with conveniences, they're not enough

The study found that people want to be secure. Security, and the feeling people get from it, appears to have an intrinsic value. Consumers repeatedly chose protection over convenience in a series of 'either, or' questions. For example, when asked to decide between connecting with others from anywhere to always being fully protected, the response was heavily favouring strong protection (55%) over ease of connection (18%). 

The same sentiment extended to the workplace, where 'work meetings guaranteed seamless' trailed significantly at 14% versus 'meetings guaranteed secure' at 56%. 

2. Consumers want a protected connection, even if it costs them

Security appears to have a distinct financial value as well. When asked to choose between cost savings and security, consumers still overwhelmingly favoured protection. In the toss-up between being offered zero-fee banking or utterly secure banking, only 16% opted for zero fees, while 59% went with their security. And 54% of respondents said they would pay an extra 10% for a secure purchase - whereas only 13% said they would risk leaking contact information for purchase at a lower price. 

Beyond expressing a stated preference for security in online banking and shopping, the study found that consumers will pay for apps and services that protect them. With 42% of consumers saying they addressed their security and privacy risks by using new tools on their devices - such as a VPN, antivirus apps, firewalls, credit monitoring services, and others. 

3. Gamers will take a pass on so-called 'free' video games

Privacy remains a significant consumer issue, with 37% of respondents saying they feel the risks to their online privacy have increased. Gamers surveyed say they share this feeling as well, particularly in a landscape where many so-called "free" games have a hidden price - the capture and possible resale of personal information to third parties.  

When made aware of potential privacy issues, most gamers in the survey say they will protect themselves. The survey asked if they would try the newest online game by sharing personal information or not sharing info and not playing the game. Only 14% were willing to share their personal info, while the clear majority of 60% said they were unwilling to trade their privacy for a game. Provided they are aware of the issues at hand, gamers (and in many cases, their parents) can make better decisions about which games to play and which ones to avoid. 

4. AI monitoring of healthcare?

Consumers embraced online healthcare services (doctor, hospital, treatments), out of a mix of convenience (34%) and COVID-related necessity (58%) and will continue to do so - within limits.  

In the survey, 38% of consumers say they created new accounts and logins through online healthcare services. However, when asked if they would trust the monitoring of their healthcare to AI or stick with healthcare data shared privately and securely, only 9% were willing to try AI. In contrast, 68% wanted their info kept private and secure. 

5. Cryptocurrency fraud like the 'Squid Game' scam will sour consumer taste for fintech

Already, 37% of those surveyed feel that their personal and financial information is particularly at risk. Yet, this feeling of risk will increase as consumers increasingly participate in the burgeoning fintech market and face a new wave of attacks that target their virtual assets and cryptocurrencies. 

Bogus cryptocurrencies will crop up, like the 'Squid Game' crypto that falsely capitalised on the name of the legitimate Netflix hit. Likewise, consumers who make new investments in established cryptocurrencies and NFTs will find their crypto accounts prone to attack by cybercriminals looking to capitalise on the trend.  

6. Vax cards are the new credit cards, and consumers in Australia want them protected

According to the survey, the need for digital vaccine passports will continue, and consumers will want to ensure that their identity is protected. More than a third of respondents (31%) say they expect increases in tracking vaccine status and storing proof of vaccination in 2022. However, they also expressed concerns that COVID-related online activities could potentially lead to data privacy issues or possible identity theft. 

The survey also found that 59% of respondents say they would prefer the convenience of a digital vaccine passport.
Only 28% said they preferred a paper copy. 

7. Online learning will increasingly take root with consumers - above and beyond COVID necessities

Consumers are showing more and more willingness to learn online and seek out online educational options, at least in some instances. While COVID-related concerns remain a driver for this increase (49%), a significant number of respondents cited job and schooling requirements as a reason to seek out these services online (55%). The survey also revealed that 30% said they'd be willing to learn online from the best experts. 

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